Yoga and Pilates are two forms of exercise that have increased in popularity in recent years. staying active is important but trying to do when there are health concerns is challenging. With help from qualified instructors in yoga and Pilates, older people can both forms of exercise beneficial. Better still, they can be performed with little specialist equipment and in their own home too, a place that we know the majority of elderly people want to stay, as highlighted in the No Place Like Home Report , which has been pulled together by the Live in Care Hub (www.liveincarehub.co.uk).
Are yoga and Pilates the same thing?
Although similar, there are differences between the two. Yoga, for example, is a form of exercise that can improve the flexibility of the body, especially around joints. For many older people, stiff joints can be a painful, everyday issue they have to deal with.
Pilates, on the other hand, focuses on relaxing and strengthening muscles. Loss of muscle mass and strength can lead to all kinds of mobility problems, as well as affecting how well everyday tasks can be carried out.
Both forms of exercise are known to be effective for anyone who regularly practices them. Better still, performing either or both kinds of exercise is done at your own pace. From small daily sessions to a weekly class, there are numerous ways to get involved with yoga sessions and Pilates ones too.
Why yoga and Pilates are beneficial
With a qualified, experienced instructor on hand, older people find that both yoga and Pilates beneficial in many ways;
- Promotes stability – the assumption that just because someone is old they are weak is long gone. Yoga and Pilates are gentle forms of exercise that promote stability and strength.
- Help with common ailments – from incontinence to arthritis, exercise can be beneficial in warding off and managing everyday ailments. Yoga and Pilates are known to be beneficial in this way.
- Osteoporosis – as well as a calcium-rich diet, weight-bearing exercise is often prescribed in managing osteoporosis, a weakening of the bones. Pilates is known to help manage the condition.
- Improved circulation – exercising keeps more than weigh in check, it also helps to promote circulation. Poor circulation can lead to many different issues for older people (and young too!).
- Improved body awareness and balance – exercising means we have an awareness of our body and how it feels. Aching joints, bruises, feeling tired or more breathless than usual could be symptomatic of many different ailments. With yoga and Pilates, we are taught to be more aware of how our body is feeling and note any changes.
Are yoga and Pilates for everyone?
Gentle exercise is beneficial although, with both yoga and Pilates, you can enjoy a vigorous workout. Neither requires expensive clothing or equipment and once someone has mastered the basics, can form a daily exercise routine that brings many benefits. And if you have a live in carer, you could enjoy a daily dose of Pilates or yoga together.